Why Resident Communication Matters Now More Than Ever


Erika Riley

– VOL. 18

Owning and operating residential buildings has gotten increasingly complicated in recent years. In the face of this dizzying age of change, owner-operators can rely on one golden rule: Communication is key.

Communication between owner-operators and residents can improve relationships between the two parties, which in turn realizes better retention rates and improved efficiencies. Here’s why streamlined and effective communication with your residents is important in the new era of property management — and easy ways to put it into action for your residents today.

Owner-operators often get a bad reputation. Only 45% of US renters say that they are satisfied with their landlord, which creates not only an image issue but also a money issue. According to Venn’s 2022 Resident Experience Report, only 27% of renters say they’re very likely to renew if they also report they’re dissatisfied with their landlords. 

So how do you fix it? The key is communication.

Take Ownership of Issues

Take it from the residents’ perspective: No one wants to reach out with a request or concern that goes unanswered. And yet this is all too often their experience. If residents expect their questions to go unanswered, they are more likely to keep property issues to themselves, which could cause long-term damage and distrust.

Opening a channel of communication can help you address those problems with your residents and ease any concerns they may have. Sticking a poster on a wall with the email address for maintenance requests doesn’t cut it anymore. Streamlined communication makes residents feel that they’re heard and have the resources necessary to get what they need.

Improved communication allows owner-operators to take ownership of issues as they arise and control the messaging and responses that residents receive. By creating communication channels with their residents, owner-operators can contain the issue internally as opposed to pushing the resident to resort to using a public channel like Twitter, Google, or Facebook to share their issues and vent frustrations. 

Venn, an end-to-end operating system for owner-operators, specializes in this kind of communication. The platform offers tools for delivering a seamless on- and offline experience for owner-operators and residents, which creates an efficient and easy-to-use system for both parties. Instead of navigating between emails, text messages, and phone calls, communication lives in one place. That not only makes your life easier but also helps residents feel that their building is tech-savvy and upscale.

“Venn’s app is an easier way to get in touch in a way that’s more aligned with other cutting-edge tech companies and is moving property management into a more modern space,” said Head of Neighborhoods Georgia Flaum. “It also positions the property management team as very forward-thinking and tech-oriented.”

Build Trust with Residents

Quality communication also builds trust between owner-operators and residents, which in turn gives owner-operators a competitive edge at a dynamic time in the industry.

“If communication is streamlined, that gives residents a sense of organization, consistency, and confidence, which improves the brand, and therefore improves satisfaction,” says Flaum. “When people are more satisfied with communication in general, they’re more likely to renew because they feel like they know who to go to and know how to get help when there’s a problem.”

Renters with access to app-based messaging with building staff and maintenance were significantly more likely to be satisfied with their landlords than renters who did not, according to The Venn 2022 Resident Experience Report. Trust between owner-operators and residents is crucial to building lasting relationships, especially at a time when most renters are worried about the housing market. Keeping a close relationship with residents helps them feel at ease and more connected to your community and building.

“When residents have a central hub as their go-to spot for submitting work orders, paying rent, chatting with people who live down the hall, and seeing what’s happening in the area, they are more likely to feel at ease when something goes wrong. They’re clear about where to go for answers,” says Flaum. “When residents are empowered to flag concerns and get real-time responses at the tip of their fingers, the trust between them and their property managers grows.”

“When residents are empowered to flag concerns and get real-time responses at the tip of their fingers, the trust between them and their property managers grows.”

Make Communication Personal, Not Transactional

Communication between the owner-operator and resident also shifts the relationship from transactional to personal. Instead of being the faceless entity that collects a rent check every month and occasionally sends texts regarding maintenance, the owner-operator and their property management team can become a friendly, trustworthy advocate for residents and foster community.

And community is more than a value-add for residents. It’s good for business too. Residents who felt connected to their community were twice as likely to renew their leases, compared to those who lived in amenity-rich buildings but were not connected to their community, according to Venn’s 2022 report. 

In addition to advancing the personal relationship between owner-operators and residents, the Venn platform also provides tools and opportunities for strengthening the rest of the community, supporting local businesses and entrepreneurs. In Kansas City, our partner Mac Properties holds a monthly Small Business Wednesday event in the Arcade, a resident cowork and community hub launched in partnership with Venn earlier this year. At the monthly events, residents and local business owners can highlight their goods and services, and neighbors come to shop, get to know one another, and interact. 

Over time, Mac Properties has come to see the events as a valuable opportunity for connecting with residents face-to-face and building goodwill between the property management staff and the people living in their buildings. 

 At a recent Diwali event for community members and students at the University of Missouri Kansas City, members of Mac’s property management team used the opportunity to meet face-to-face with residents and prospects, showcase the values of their community, and attract new residents. 

 In addition to providing a welcoming platform for attracting new residents, the event also created opportunities for positive connections between Mac and existing residents. Satya, a Mac resident originally from India who is pursuing an engineering career in Kansas City, used the Global Exchange group on the Venn app to plan and promote the event. 

“Mac + Venn connects involved tenants directly to the landlord for support and humanizes both parties in the process,” said Lead Neighborhood Manager Arie Blau. “Following the event, Satya shared that this experience made him grateful to live within a community that actively supports the variety of culture within it and creates space for those communities to thrive. The landlord was also able to gain first-hand knowledge of what tenants in their community care about and how they want to come together.”

Open Up Communication for Positive Interactions

Creating communication channels for planning events, neighbor interaction, and resident groups also makes these spaces fun and inviting. Instead of being reserved for negative communications and complaints, these communication channels can become positive places used for events, recognitions, and gratitude. 

In that vein, it’s vital for owner-operators to make their communication channels into a dialogue. Invite your residents to communicate with you instead of always sending one-way messages. They will feel better about communicating knowing it’s “the norm” for the property management team.

Optimize Your Resident Communication with Venn

Making communication with your residents a positive and seamless dialogue can help develop trust and build community within your buildings. This not only helps your residents feel at home but can lead to more renewals and more efficiency – which in turn means fewer headaches for all. “When you establish streamlined communication, issues get resolved faster, on both ends,” says Flaum. “The Venn platform makes it really easy to send messages to just one building or to all of your buildings through a push notification on the app.”

Ultimately, this streamlined communication is the foundation of building relationships that are a win-win for both owner-operator and resident. Creating a personal connection creates an opportunity to build a stronger sense of belonging and ownership in how the community feels and operates,” adds Blau. “Residents that feel a stronger sense of belonging are more likely to invest in the neighborhood long-term.”

If you’d like to learn more about how to optimize your communication channels today, reach out to Venn for insights and a personalized recommendation.